By Joel Fitzpatrick, Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 12 – Perhaps no event at the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games represents the outdoors lifestyle of the Pacific region better than beach volleyball.
Despite this apparent synergy, Pacific nations have had little success on the world stage with no world championship or Olympic podium places going to athletes from the region.
However, beach volleyball has become a large part of the Pacific Games, with the event being contested since 1999 in Guam.
At the 2011 event Fiji went unbeaten to win the men’s competition, deposing hosts New Caledonia in the final. Tahiti won bronze.
Fiji’s gold medal in 2011 saw the team go one better than it achieved at the 2007 Pacific Games, where the men were beaten in the final by Tahiti.
In the 2011 women’s competition Vanuatu won gold. New Caledonia won its second silver and Tahiti its second bronze.
The 2011 women’s result was almost a complete reversal from 2007 when Tahiti were gold medallists and Vanuatu bronze medallists. Fiji took the silver medal.
At Port Moresby 2015, the teams have been divided into four pools with the top two or three [depending on number of teams in the pool] progressing to a playoff round, then the semifinals and final.
In the women’s, Fiji has been matched up with hosts Papua New Guinea while the other strong teams, include Vanuatu, Tahiti, and New Caledonia.
In the men’s competition Papua New Guinea have a good chance to progress from their group that contains the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
Group C will be the most hotly contested, with 2011 finalists Fiji and New Caledonia to meet on the second day of the competition.
The other favourites, Tahiti and Vanuatu look to have an easier paths to the playoffs.
Competition begins at the BSP Stadium on Monday, July 13th.
For information about beach volleyball tickets call the Pacific Games ticket hotline on 180 2015 or download the ticket purchasing guide.